15 August 2011

Family Vacation 2, sponsored by Ford

We hit the road, and apart from partly learning all the gizmos of the 2011 Ford Explorer, it was pretty smooth sailing to Vernon, BC. Stayed at the same hotel we stayed at 13 years prior when we took our 1 year old son through on his first vacation.

An early start to day two lead us to Kelowna where we had a quick visit with my cousin Tony and his family. I wished we had more time to catch up - they have a beautiful spot with a yard that makes us city folk question city living. We couldn't even fit their pool into our tiny yard. It must be great for their kids to grow up with so much space. Kelowna is a beautiful city when it's not full of us tourists - traffic leaving was very much city like.

The Explorer handles nicely on the highway and the city, it's a bit larger than what I'm used to driving, but it's not hard to get used to - the back up camera makes parking pretty seamless too. Unfortunately, the Sync wasn't syncing, the Bluetooth that took so long to set up on day 1 was nowhere to be found on day 2 - we tried calling Ford, but the mountains made any call more than 3 minutes hard to complete so we used the handy USB ports to plug in the tunes, a fully charged device at the end of the drive was a nice reward. The lack of Bluetooth means we no longer have hands-free calling however. Not a problem on holidays though.

We got to Tsawwassen in good time and put the Explorer on it's first boat ride. The kids quickly dispersed amongst the decks of the ship and were located in time to depart about an hour later when we reached Victoria. A hotel was quickly located and Karen and the kids quickly got their swimming trunks on and headed to the lobby only to find out that there was no pool in the hotel - this was very funny. Everyone got dressed and we headed to downtown Victoria and wandered down the shopping streets, very reminiscent of London and many of the 'touristy' places we've seen in our travels.

Victoria is very British in many ways, heck, they even sell Pimms here. We found a late night spot for dinner, West Coast Waffles - we had dessert for dinner. It's vacation so why not?

Everyone got up a bit later on Day 3, and we headed back down to the shopping district so that Matthew could re-create a moment from 2 years ago - buying a tuxedo t-shirt from the exact same place as he found one before. He loves his tux shirt, not because it's ironic, but because he believes he's actually dressed up. This makes me smile to no end - we found a joke store and bought the boys some fake moustaches, they are pretty authentic and matched their hair colour pretty good - Matthew with his cop moustache and tux shirt and Parker with a nicely sculpted handlebar moustache were ready to go hit the streets. They had people in stitches as we walked down the shopping district, us too.

After a very nice Mexican lunch, we headed north to our cabin on Yellow Point Road in the Cedars, just East of Ladysmith and South of Nanaimo. It's a cool spot, a group of about 40 condo units with a pool that overhangs the ocean. The winding road through the trees is beautiful with nicely kept cottages and homes tucked into the cedars and Arbutus trees. There is some rain, a few drops really, falling sporadically on the ground around me as I type this posting from the porch of our unit. There is no wifi and barely a cell signal - this annoys me now, but I will come to like it, I'm sure.

This evening, my wife and I took a little drive up the road to get some much needed supplies (beer) and found an English style pub along the way. It's called the Crow and Gate and has gorgeous gardens surrounding it. Other than not allowing patrons under the age of 19 into it, the place is very much like an English pub - we enjoyed a quick pint in the garden then headed back to watch a movie with the kids.

We've had to fill up for gas twice so far, the Explorer seems to be pretty good on gas despite my lead foot. Tomorrow we're going to head to Long Beach and Tofino or Nanaimo, depending on the weather. I'm hoping for Tofino so that I can test the Explorer on the winding mountain roads heading through the island on the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Good night.

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